Yesterday, at 12.31pm, I walked out of the Oxford Examination Schools a free gal. It’s certainly been a long haul; about a month ago I boarded myself up in my room, put beaky nose to grindstone and began to learn a year’s worth of content. I also had to learn to write again (pretty sure my pen licence has expired by now); building up the wrist strength normally only associated with seasoned squash players and teenage boys.
I think the worst part about exams is the mental game of it all. It’s very tiresome listening to people discussing obscure judgments, reciting grade distributions from the last decade and debating the merits of Uniball v Artline for inky speed and precision. That the course is referred to colloquially as the BCHell is not exactly confidence inspiring. But probably the most disconcerting thing was having people constantly tell me that I seemed very chilled out — which is kind of like a Macca’s server saying, “Gee, you must be hungry” to a rotund single ordering a Family Meal Deal (translation: “WTF are you doing?”).
While the study period was woeful, I didn’t mind actually sitting the exams. I think it was the novelty of dressing up in subfusc (academic gowns, dark suit/skirt and white bowtie/black ribbon, with mortar board in hand) and taking them in the beautiful Examination Schools. A friend pidges you carnations before your first exam which you wear on your lapel; white for the first, pink for the middle ones, and red for the final exam. Unlike when a cheap date grabs a cellophaned bunch from the servo before picking you up, these carnations are a nice touch.
Same as back home, people get trashed after their final exam. But unlike back home, here ‘trashing’ involves on onslaught of silly string, shaving cream, confetti and cava (okay, 1 out of 4 is the same).
…and now, summer!